Dan Rafael: Greg Leon
August, 31, 2014
By Dan Rafael | ESPN.com
AP Photo/The Canadian Press/Ryan RemiorzJean Pascal is a big draw in Quebec where he has fought his last 10 bouts.
Light heavyweight champ Adonis Stevenson has blown fights with Sergey Kovalev and Bernard Hopkins for the fall, so they are unifying their belts with each other on Nov. 8.
The next best choice for Stevenson is an all-Montreal showdown with former champion Jean Pascal, who has one of the biggest names in the division and a quality resume that includes a win over Chad Dawson (long before Stevenson knocked him out to win the title), Lucian Bute, Adrian Diaconu (twice), a draw and competitive loss to Hopkins and a competitive loss to Carl Froch at super middleweight.
Stevenson-Pascal was in talks, too, but quickly went nowhere because of a disagreement over the revenue split for a fight that Showtime is interested in.
Stevenson’s side has thrown around a 70-30 split in favor of the champ while Pascal -- who is the mandatory challenger -- is seeking a 50-50 deal.
The 50-50 deal is what is fair considering that Pascal is a much greater draw in Montreal than Stevenson. Bottom line, while Stevenson brings the title to the table, Pascal brings a bigger name and more financial muscle.
Pascal’s camp is putting on the hard press in an attempt to lure Stevenson back to the table for a more equitable split of the money.
Greg Leon, CEO of Jean Pascal Promotions, laid out the argument, which makes a lot of sense. Included in his case:
• Pascal has taken part in three of the five highest grossing fights (including No. 1, with Bute), in the history of Canadian boxing. Stevenson was not involved in the other two.
• In those three fights, Hopkins I and II and the Bute fight in January, Pascal generated more gate revenue than Stevenson has in his entire career.
• The biggest money fight available to both Stevenson and Pascal is to fight each other. There isn't another fight for Stevenson that gives him the chance to become a 10,000-plus ticket seller in Quebec, not to mention that Stevenson would reap a career-high payday and be favored against Pascal.
• Leon claims that Pascal is willing to allow Stevenson promoter Yvon Michel, who used to promote Pascal, to become involved with Pascal in another multi-fight deal as part of making a Stevenson fight.
“Now it's up to Stevenson to grow a pair and accept a major challenge or blatantly duck his third big fight in the last year or so,” Leon said. “A champion who ducks three big fights in favor of bouts against second tier opponents is a champion nobody respects and is easily forgotten, especially at 36 years old.
AP Photo/The Canadian Press/Ryan RemiorzIn 2014, Adonis Stevenson, right, left on the table fights with light heavyweight titlists Bernard Hopkins and Sergey Kovalev.
“Our willingness to give the old man a rematch clause is above and beyond our requirements as WBC mandatory challenger. At 36 years old Adonis Stevenson can assure himself at least two big paydays before he turns 40. At the end of the day, boxing is a business and Team Stevenson isn't using their best business sense. They have already lost millions of dollars with the Kovalev and Hopkins bouts and have the potential to lose millions more by choosing another second tier opponent over Jean Pascal. Considering all of the facts, how does 50-50 not make sense to Team Stevenson? If Jean Pascal is as difficult to deal with as Yvon Michel would have the world believe, then clearly it is impossible to deal with Adonis Stevenson.
“If Superman continues to run and hide behind his manager (Al Haymon) and promoter, Jean Pascal's new nickname will be ‘Kryptonite.’ And everybody knows what would happen to Superman if he were in a boxing ring with ‘Kryptonite. ‘
So instead of facing Kovalev, Hopkins or Pascal, the names being thrown around to face Stevenson later this year include the unimpressive likes of Umberto Savigne and Gabriel Campillo.
Hopefully Stevenson, Michel and Haymon will spare us that dreck. And the excuses.